'First President In Decades To Care': Trump Lays Out Vision For Native Americans

Written By BlabberBuzz | Friday, 23 October 2020 23:00

The Trump administration is assuring Native Americans fixed infrastructure, expanded business opportunities, higher-quality education, and more reliable health care if he wins reelection.

The proposals were described in a three-page policy pitch the White House published this week, named “Putting America’s First Peoples First — Forgotten No More!”

The document outlined five core principles Trump has said he applies to support the Indian Country, as well as 10 bullet-point guarantees for the future.

The administration promised to ensure more protected communities, set plans to foster 51,000 new Native American-owned businesses, develop infrastructure and digital connectivity, improve tribal economic self-determination, expand federal investment in tribal colleges and universities, respect Native American culture by prioritizing repatriation of remains and cultural artifacts, provide better education options for children, host a summit of national tribal leaders, guarantee better care through the Indian Health Service and honor Native Americans' tradition of military service.

Health care is a crucial element: Already shrinking Native American communities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus, and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said on Wednesday that he accused the federal government's response.

"I am sure if the federal government had intervened a lot quicker, things would have been a lot better," Nez said. "It’s obvious there was a lack of support.”

Tribes have also been troubled with an epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous persons as well as opioid and meth crises.

Also, rural and often isolated tribal lands have restricted access to broadcast and electric lines, though not all of them want changes because of anxiety over possible negative environmental shocks.

Trump also promised $10 million to build new tribal charter schools and hand out school choice scholarships and assured to raise funding to some native-language programs by 25%.

The officials also touted $8 billion of disbursements to tribes battling the pandemic and the U.S. Justice Department's more than $295 million in donations for tribes.

Lizer, the Navajo vice president, reportedly praised the president's attempts and dedication to long-term issues for Indian Country.

Trump's plan carries some similarities to that of Democratic rival Joe Biden, who published his own policy program at the beginning of the month.

The 15-page "Biden-Harris Plan For Tribal Nations" hits on eight key commitments including strengthening nation-to-nation relationships, giving quality health care, restoring tribal lands and addressing climate change, assuring the protection of native populations, developing economic opportunity, investing in education, commemorating native veterans and guaranteeing Native Americans can use their right to vote.

The Biden-Harris plan would renew the Voting Rights Act, select legal leaders who would defy laws designed to suppress the Native American vote and establish a Native American Voting Rights Task Force trying to guarantee equal access to voter registration and polling sites.

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